Suffolk County Council approves 3% rise in council tax

Endeavour House in Russell Road, Ipswich, headquarters of Suffolk County Council

Endeavour House in Russell Road, Ipswich, headquarters of Suffolk County Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils. - Credit: JASON NOBLE LDRS

Suffolk County Council has approved a 3% rise in council tax from April 2022.

The authority voted by 47 votes to 11 to up its share of the council tax bill by 3% – 1.99% on the main element and a further 1% on the adult social care precept, at its meeting on Thursday afternoon.

It means a Band B home – the most common in the county – will pay 62p per week more, or 80p for a Band D.

Added to the already-approved 4.2% increase with the police's portion of the tax, and the district and boroughs due to approve their part next week, Band D homeowners are likely to see a total increase of around £50-55 on this year’s bill, depending on where they live.

The Conservative administration said it recognised the cost of living pressures families were facing, which is why it didn’t opt for the maximum 2% possible on the adult social care portion of the bill that would have brought its total increase up to 4%.

Conservative cabinet member for finance and the environment, Richard Rout, said the new budget “does not cut or reduce services”.

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for enbironment and public protection. Picture:

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for environment and public protection. - Credit: Suffolk County Council

He added: “Not only does it meet all our demand pressures, it invests further in our priority areas all while not taking the maximum 4% rise that was available to us.

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“Now as we emerge from the pandemic the costs of living are rising, energy bills are going up and weekly food shops are noticeably more expensive.

“It’s only fair therefore that this county council levies only what it needs on Suffolk residents to balance its budget and meet our demand pressures.”

The total 2022/23 budget will increase from £598.2million to £625.4m, which includes an additional £16.2m for adult social care and £9.9m in children’s and young people’s services.

The boosted coffers include £1.1m for improvements in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services, £6.5m over four years for more SEND school places and £1m over the next four years for more visible highways improvements.

Alternative proposals had been tabled by the opposition Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group. These proposed utilising the full adult social care rise to generate a further £3.6m to pay carers more.

The proposals, rejected by the Conservative administration, also suggested spending £600,000 from reserves to create a fuel poverty pilot scheme for homes where the energy efficiency cannot be improved.